Friday, September 29, 2017

The National Anthem Protests -- Do Facts Matter?

By Larry Elder
September 28, 2017

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Eric Reid and Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers kneel on the sideline during the anthem, as free agent Nate Boyer stands, prior to the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on Sept. 1, 2016 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
Where was the angry left when Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg called the national anthem protests "dumb and disrespectful"?
Let's focus on the "dumb" part.
NFL player Colin Kaepernick, who started the protests, did so over the supposed widespread instances of police brutality against blacks. Kaepernick said, "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. ... There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder." According to the Centers for Disease Control, since 1968 police killings of blacks have declined nearly 75 percent. According to The Washington Post, almost 500 whites were killed by cops in 2015, an average of more than one a day. Two hundred fifty-nine blacks were killed by the police. Most suspects killed by police had a weapon.
Now for some perspective.
Do you know anyone who has been struck by lightning? Neither do most people. Yet each year an average of about 300 Americans are killed or injured by lightning. That's approximately 40 more than the number of blacks killed by the police in 2015. Is there an "epidemic" of Americans being struck and injured by lightning? We don't know the number of black men injured by lightning every year, but let's assume the number is 7 percent of the total people struck by lightning, mirroring the percentage of the black male population in America. That brings the average number of black men injured by lightning to about 21.
Out of the 965 people killed by the police in 2015 (as of Dec. 24), the Post reported (on Dec. 26) that "less than 4 percent" involved an unarmed black man and a white cop, the fact pattern most commonly referred to by anti-police activists like Black Lives Matter. Last year, The Washington Post put the number of unarmed black men killed by the police at 17, less than the number of blacks likely struck by lightning. Twenty-two unarmed whites were killed by the police. Any death that results from police misconduct is one death too many, but the point is that police killing of a suspect is rare, no matter the race of the suspect or the cop. And a police shooting of an unarmed black male is still more rare.
But blacks are routinely and disproportionately being stopped, pulled over and/or arrested due to police misconduct, right?
No, not according to numerous studies, many by the government. Take traffic stops. In 2013, the National Institute of Justice, the research and evaluation agency of the Department of Justice, published a study of whether the police, as a result of racial bias, stop blacks more than other drivers. The conclusion? Any racial disparity in traffic stops is due to "differences in offending" in addition to "differences in exposure to the police" and "differences in driving patterns."
According to Philippe Lemoine, writing in National Review, a white person is, on average, more likely to have interactions with the police in any year than a black person, 20.7 percent vs. 17.5 percent. It is true that a black person is more likely to have multiple contacts with the police. But according to the data, multiple contacts with the police are rare, as well. Lemoine writes that 1.2 percent of white men have more than three contacts with the police in a year versus 1.5 percent of black men.
But what about the experience of a black person with the police versus that of a white person? The DOJ's Bureau of Justice Statistics regularly studies this, too. Every year, the BJS surveys a representative sample of 70,000 people. Among the questions, the survey asks whether respondents had contact with the police in the last 12 months. If the answer is "yes," the survey asks a number of follow-up questions, including about use of force.
Let's concentrate on cases involving use of force.
Lemoine writes: "Only 0.6 percent of black men experience physical force by the police in any given year, while approximately 0.2 percent of white men do. ... Moreover, keep in mind that these tallies of police violence include violence that is legally justified." And keep in mind the much higher levels of crime by mostly black males. It is estimated that half of all homicides are committed by, and mostly against, black males.
In 1995, the federal government looked at 42,500 defendants in the nation's 75 largest counties. A government statistician, Patrick A. Langan, found "no evidence that, in the places where blacks in the United States have most of their contacts with the justice system, that system treats them more harshly than whites." So much for the so-called "institutional racism" in the criminal justice system.
Recently, in Illinois, in a kids' 8-and-under football league, the entire team, which appeared to be all black, including the coach, took a knee during the national anthem. Asked why, one third-grade player parroted Kaepernick, saying, according to the coach, "Because black people are getting killed, and nobody's going to jail."
Facts don't matter. The coach, presented with a teachable moment, fumbled it away.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

One Step Into Modernity

Saudi Arabia Gives Women License to Drive
By Theodore Dalrymple
September 28, 2017
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(Hasan Jamali/AP)
I happened to be near the Saudi border, in a small country in the Gulf, when the historic announcement was made that women would henceforth be issued drivers’ licenses in Saudi Arabia. The friends with whom I had been staying, and who had themselves worked in Saudi Arabia, at first assumed that the announcement was a joke, or some kind of destabilizing provocation by foreign intelligence agencies.
But no, it turned out to be true. Does this mean that the past denial of licenses to women has been, in principle, wrong all along? Is the about-face the result of Crown Prince Salman’s philosophical enlightenment, or a product of economic necessity? (Perhaps economic necessity can be the mother of philosophical enlightenment.)
In any case, Saudi Arabia’s golden age is over. The price of oil is relatively low and not likely to rise very much. The kingdom’s foreign currency reserves are falling, in a country where nearly everything must be imported; meantime, the Saudi population is growing fast. Sixty percent of Saudis are under 30. Middle-class families can no longer support themselves with one salary: as in the West, they now need two. In the circumstances, it is madness to import labor to perform services that Saudis can easily perform for themselves.
Good news for some is usually bad news for others: if Saudi women can rejoice that they will now be permitted to drive themselves, what need will there be for the tens of thousands of Indian drivers who have long chauffeured them wherever they went (always with a father’s, husband’s, or brother’s permission, of course)? The drivers can be sent home, to the great benefit of the Saudi balance of payments—for everyone knows that the Indians remit as much of their money home as possible. But for the Indians it will be, arguably, a disaster.
Slowly, Saudi Arabia is being dragged into Western-style modernity. This might well upset the two-century-old balance between the clerical and relatively secular powers in the desert kingdom. Clerical power is like pregnancy: it is difficult to have only a little of it. Tocqueville said that the most dangerous moment for authoritarian regimes was not when they were at their most repressive but when they begin to reform.
Saudi Arabia has but one cinema, which exclusively shows educational documentaries, and these only between prescribed prayer times. Unsurprisingly for a country whose economy is intimately bound to the internal combustion engine, and whose restrictive culture prohibits any “free mixing” of the sexes, Saudi youth entertain themselves by driving. Unmarried Saudi men drive their four-wheel-drive vehicles or Mercedes coupes at top speed through the desert—“drifting,” and frequently crashing, as can be seen in the YouTube videos that they gleefully post.
Considering the preeminence of driving in Saudi youth culture, giving women license to drive could lead to major changes in how the sexes interact and court. How will the emirs keep their daughters penned in seclusion, once they have seen the dashboard lights?
Theodore Dalrymple is a contributing editor of City Journal, the Dietrich Weismann Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, and the author of many books, including Out into the Beautiful World and a new collection of short fiction, The Proper Procedure and Other Stories.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Kneeling for a Self-Deceiving Lie

September 26, 2017

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Forget Donald Trump for a moment (assuming that's possible) and go back to what initiated this whole escalating orgy of racial accusation that has overtaken football and other sports and you find one of the more despicable and self-destructive lies of our time -- that the police are targeting minority communities.

Heather Mac Donald's excellent "The War on Cops" is chock full of statistics demonstrating why this is not only a lie, but the complete opposite of reality. Unfortunately, Mac Donald is white and therefore, I'm told, disqualified, so I will quote a short version from the Wall Street Journal's Jason Riley, who happens to be black:
In New York City, home to the nation’s largest police force, officer-involved shootings have fallen by more than 90% since the early 1970s, and national trends have been similarly dramatic. 
A Justice Department report published in 2001 noted that between 1976 and 1998, the teen and adult population grew by 47 million people, and the number of police officers increased by more than 200,000, yet the number of people killed by police “did not generally rise” over this period. Moreover, a “growing percentage of felons killed by police are white, and a declining percentage are black.” A separate Justice study released in 2011 also reported a decline in killings by police, between 1980 and 2008. And according to figures from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate at which police kill blacks has fallen by 70% since the late 1960s. [bold mine]
So why are all these multi-millionaires insulting the country that made them wildly rich and creating a national (even international) crisis about police brutality when, with rare exceptions, it's no longer there? Do they actually believe their own lie?

Probably, to some extent, they do.  After all, they're surrounded by it.  The media -- aka Democrats with press passes -- constantly rattle on about the evils of the police in order to stir the racial pot.  It even got worse after Barack Obama was elected.  (Not surprising, really, when you think about it.)

The Democratic Party depends on racism -- more precisely the perception of racism -- for its survival.  Without a seeming non-stop race crisis in our country, that party would no longer exist, at least as presently constituted. It would hemorrhage voters, with large numbers of African-Americans soon tiring of the Democrats' fusty socialist economic schemes that have failed black people especially.

Our inner cities, almost exclusively under the control of Democrats for decades, have been wrecked, families shattered, in part, by the policies of that party. We all know that.  The football players deep down know that and so do the cynical team owners.  They're all participating in a pathetic charade, pretending (or convincing themselves) the police are the problem in black communities.  The police aren't the ones shooting each other in Chicago and Baltimore. They're the ones trying to stop that from happening.  This is so obvious that it's not even the elephant in the room.  It's the brontosaurus in the room.

We now live in such a victim culture that even mega-rich athletes and movie actors claim victimhood. Maybe we should rewrite Sly Stone's "Everybody Is a Star"  as "Everybody Is a Victim."

The problem with this of course is that little gets solved by playing the victim. It's just a dumb show, a bunch of guys refusing to stand for the National Anthem.  Meaningless, except to their egos. This kind of behavior is, in reality, the enemy of action, taking things backwards and giving people an excuse not to do something substantive.  Does anyone seriously expect the current "protest" by the football players to have any result (other than turning fans off football)?  What could it be?  Improvement for poor black communities?

Oh, come on.  If you want to improve poor black communities, round up some money and start a business there.  Be entrepreneurial.  Make something. Build something.... Oh, wait.  Then you might have to deal with Donald Trump.  (I knew I couldn't keep him out of this.)

Roger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and co-founder of PJ Media.  His latest book is I Know Best:  How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If  It Hasn't Already.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Finding the true majesty behind Aaron Judge’s epic performance

September 25, 2017

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Count Aaron Judge out of the AL MVP race at your own peril
There is majesty in Count Aaron Judge out of the AL MVP race at your own perilevery swing. But so much more makes Aaron Judge the home run hulk he has become his rookie year.
Judge is a slugger who touches the senses, and maybe that is why he is so special. At 6-foot-7, he is taller than other hitters, the ball explodes off the barrel of his bat with a sound that is unique. And then you watch the arcing flight of the baseball. It’s breathtaking — mesmerizing even veterans of the game.
Todd Frazier has never seen anything like it.
“They’re majestic, all of them pretty much,’’ Frazier said Monday, a day Judge unleashed his 49th and 50th, tying and then breaking Mark McGwire’s rookie record for home runs in the Yankees’ 11-3 wipeout of the Royals at Yankee Stadium.
“That opposite-field home run today, ball is up and in and he hits it 375-400 feet, not many players can do that, I can’t think of one off the top of my head,’’ Frazier said. “It’s pretty cool. Words can’t put it in perspective.’’
A sight to behold.
That third-inning, opposite-field blast was 100-feet high and traveled 389 feet. His bomb in the seventh landed on the walkway far into left field, alongside the visiting bullpen, 408 feet from home plate. The drive was 136-feet high and then bounded like a golf ball hitting a cart path, flying high into the bleachers.
Another Yankees veteran, Chase Headley told The Post, “It’s fun to watch someone hit a long, long home run and just put his head down and go and not show anybody up, let the swing speak for itself. It’s refreshing. The swing is just different. It’s like he is a 7-foot basketball player on a 9-foot goal.’’
Judge pointed to the sky on home run No. 50. There are no antics, no bat flips. No wild choreographed celebrations. No embarrassing moves.
Only power and the majesty of the moment.
Judge’s home runs speak for themselves with a booming thunderclap, and so does his style of play.
Consider that after Judge hit the second of his two monster home runs Monday, he essentially had to be pushed out of the dugout to get his curtain call. It was embarrassing for him because he doesn’t want to get in the way of the game. Ever.
Fellow rookie masher Gary Sanchez then rocketed a line drive home run to left.
“We still got a game going on,’’ Judge said sheepishly before adding with a laugh. “After that, Gary hit a home run, maybe I should do that after every at-bat, a little quick curtain call before Gary hits.’’
The fans showered their love on him. Judge quietly went back into the dugout, found his way to the top step to watch the rest of the inning unfold. At the end of that inning, he was sure to take care of teammate Greg Bird, who had walked, taking Bird’s glove and cap out to the first baseman before running to his position in right field, with his usual good-luck detour to step on the bag at second base.
“You have a special kid,’’ Joe Girardi said. “He’s a natural born leader. It’s almost like he’s a big brother. He watches out for everyone, you got the whole package.’’
As for his pointing skyward on No. 50, Judge said, “The Lord put me in this position, I take a quick moment to say thank you. It’s a blessing every time I step on that field.’’
Yankees fans are blessed to have this kind of player to build around and it shows with the “All Rise’’ cheers they send to Judge. In a 2017 sports landscape littered with showboats, Judge is modest, perhaps The Greatest Millennial for young athletes to emulate.
Judge was able to get both home run baseballs back.
“I’ll probably give them to my parents,’’ Judge said. “Especially for all the sacrifices they’ve made for me throughout the years, those 25 years. It means the world to me to get them.’’
Majestic once again.

Hard Data, Hollow Protests

September 25, 2017
Baltimore Ravens players, including former player Ray Lewis, kneel during the playing of the U.S. national anthem before an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium in London, Sept. 24.
Baltimore Ravens players, including former player Ray Lewis, second from right, kneel down during the playing of the U.S. national anthem before an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium in London, Sunday Sept. 24, 2017. (Matt Dunham/AP)
The FBI released its official crime tally for 2016 today, and the data flies in the face of the rhetoric that professional athletes rehearsed in revived Black Lives Matter protests over the weekend.  Nearly 900 additional blacks were killed in 2016 compared with 2015, bringing the black homicide-victim total to 7,881. Those 7,881 “black bodies,” in the parlance of Ta-Nehisi Coates, are 1,305 more than the number of white victims (which in this case includes most Hispanics) for the same period, though blacks are only 13 percent of the nation’s population. The increase in black homicide deaths last year comes on top of a previous 900-victim increase between 2014 and 2015.
Who is killing these black victims? Not whites, and not the police, but other blacks. In 2016, the police fatally shot 233 blacks, the vast majority armed and dangerous, according to the Washington Post. The Post categorized only 16 black male victims of police shootings as “unarmed.” That classification masks assaults against officers and violent resistance to arrest. Contrary to the Black Lives Matter narrative, the police have much more to fear from black males than black males have to fear from the police. In 2015, a police officer was 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male was to be killed by a police officer. Black males have made up 42 percent of all cop-killers over the last decade, though they are only 6 percent of the population. That 18.5 ratio undoubtedly worsened in 2016, in light of the 53 percent increase in gun murders of officers—committed vastly and disproportionately by black males. Among all homicide suspects whose race was known, white killers of blacks numbered only 243. 
Violent crime has now risen by a significant amount for two consecutive years. The total number of violent crimes rose 4.1 percent in 2016, and estimated homicides rose 8.6 percent. In 2015, violent crime rose by nearly 4 percent and estimated homicides by nearly 11 percent. The last time violence rose two years in a row was 2005–06.  The reason for the current increase is what I have called the Ferguson Effect. Cops are backing off of proactive policing in high-crime minority neighborhoods, and criminals are becoming emboldened. Having been told incessantly by politicians, the media, and Black Lives Matter activists that they are bigoted for getting out of their cars and questioning someone loitering on a known drug corner at 2 AM, many officers are instead just driving by. Such stops are discretionary; cops don’t have to make them. And when political elites demonize the police for just such proactive policing, we shouldn’t be surprised when cops get the message and do less of it. Seventy-two percent of the nation’s officers say that they and their colleagues are now less willing to stop and question suspicious persons, according to a Pew Research poll released in January 2016. The reason is the persistent anti-cop climate. 
Four studies came out in 2016 alone rebutting the charge that police shootings are racially biased. If there is a bias in police shootings, it works in favor of blacks and against whites. That truth has not stopped the ongoing demonization of the police—including, now, by many of the country’s ignorant professional athletes. The toll will be felt, as always, in the inner city, by the thousands of law-abiding people there who desperately want more police protection. 

Monday, September 25, 2017

Mueller Scorches the Earth

His pre-dawn raid was meant to intimidate Manafort, not just to collect evidence.

By Andrew C. McCarthy — September 23, 2017
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Robert Mueller and Paul Manafort (Photos: CQ Roll Call and Getty Images)

Robert Mueller’s sprawling special-counsel investigation is playing hardball.

It was not enough to get a search warrant to ransack the Virginia home of Paul Manafort, even as the former Trump campaign chairman was cooperating with congressional investigators. Mueller’s bad-asses persuaded a judge to give them permission to pick the door lock. That way, they could break into the premises in the wee hours, while Manafort and his wife were in bed sleeping. They proceeded to secure the premises — of a man they are reportedly investigating for tax and financial crimes, not gang murders and Mafia hits — by drawing their guns on the stunned couple, apparently to check their pajamas for weapons.

Mueller’s probe more resembles an empire, with 17 prosecutors retained on the public dime. So . . . what exactly is the crime of the century that requires five times the number of lawyers the Justice Department customarily assigns to crimes of the century? No one can say. The growing firm is clearly scorching the earth, scrutinizing over a decade of Manafort’s shady business dealings, determined to pluck out some white-collar felony or another that they can use to squeeze him.

You are forgiven if you can recall only vaguely that supposition about Trump-campaign collusion in Russian espionage against the 2016 election was the actual explanation for Mueller’s appointment as special counsel. To the extent there was any explanation, that is. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, a Trump appointee, did not comply with the regulations requiring a description of the crimes Trump’s Justice Department is too conflicted to investigate, purportedly necessitating a quasi-independent special counsel.
The way it’s supposed to work, the Justice Department learns of a crime, so it assigns a prosecutor. To the contrary, this Justice Department assigned a prosecutor — make that: Seventeen hyper-aggressive prosecutors — and unleashed them to hunt for whatever crime they could find.

If you sense that this cuts against the presumption of innocence, you’re onto something. Because of that presumption, coupled with such other constitutional rights as the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable police searches, prosecutors are supposed to be measured in the use of their awesome powers, to employ only as much compulsion as seems appropriate under the circumstances. You don’t get a search warrant when a subpoena will do; if you have to get a warrant, you don’t do a covert pre-dawn entry when ringing the bell in the daytime will easily get you in the door.

In various places, our law reflects this common sense. For example, in applying for a wiretap authorization, besides describing the precise crime it suspects, the Justice Department must satisfy the judge that less intrusive techniques for obtaining evidence of similar quality have been attempted, or would be certain to fail if tried. (See section 2518(b) and (c) of the federal penal code.) The point is to instruct investigators that they must exercise restraint. The prosecutorial privilege to act “under color of law” comes with the duty to respect the rights the law guarantees.

Law enforcement is hard and sometimes dangerous work. Thus, there is leeway for officials to make errors in judgment. Without that leeway, they would be too paralyzed to do their jobs, and there would be no rule of law. But when prosecutors and investigators go way overboard just because they can, it is not law enforcement. It is abuse of law-enforcement power in order to intimidate.

There is no other way to interpret the brass-knuckles treatment of Manafort, a subject in a non-violent-crime investigation who is represented by counsel and was cooperating with Congress at the time Mueller’s Gang of 17 chose to break into his home. Did they really think they couldn’t have gotten the stuff they carted out of Manafort’s residence by calling up his well-regarded lawyers and asking for it? After he had already surrendered 300 pages of documents to investigative committees?

Besides scaring the bejesus out of him with the search warrant, prosecutors reportedly also told Manafort that they intend to indict him. Must mean they have a case, right? So, if Manafort is such a threat to obstruct justice that they needed to break into his home and grab the evidence before he could destroy it, then why hasn’t he been arrested yet? I mean, how could Mueller responsibly allow so dangerous a criminal to walk the streets?

I’m betting he’s not in cuffs because the point of this over-the-top exercise was not to investigate Manafort; it was to demonstrate to Manafort’s very concentrated mind how miserable the prosecutors can make his life if he doesn’t wave the white flag, pronto, and give them whatever he’s got on Donald Trump — which, by the way, had better be something.

Now, don’t misunderstand me. I’m fully convinced that Paul Manafort is a sleazeball. My objections to the revanchist regime in Moscow, unlike those of many Democrats, started long before November 8. Manafort is tight with Kremlin cronies, and his roster of lobbying clients includes a rogues’ gallery of human-rights abusers and corruptocrats. Donald Trump’s decision to put his presidential campaign in Manafort’s hands, however fleetingly, has always been disturbing — to put it mildly. If Manafort was complicit in Putin-regime provocations, and if he has information implicating Trump in them, then that must be investigated even if it compromises the president’s capacity to govern effectively.

But here’s the thing. So far, there is not a whiff of evidence that Trump and his associates were complicit in Russia’s cyber-espionage. Were they on the make for unsavory information about the opposition? Sure they were. It’s distasteful . . . but do you think the Democrats weren’t? The point is: We don’t assign prosecutors to investigate distasteful. We assign them to investigate crime — in this case, a putative information-theft conspiracy.

The FBI and the Justice Department were pursuing that investigation aggressively for months before Mueller entered the picture. It has been over a year, and they don’t have it. If they had it, former FBI director Jim Comey would not have thrice told Trump he was not a suspect. If they had it, it would have leaked by now — the way every unflattering morsel has been leaked. And if they had it, they wouldn’t be poring over eleven years of Manafort’s checkered history; they would be arresting him for espionage in connection with the 2016 election.

If there is strong suspicion that Manafort has committed fraud crimes unrelated to the 2016 campaign, then fine, investigate him. But investigate him as you would any other white-collar fraudster who (a) has counsel willing to honor your lawful demands to produce evidence and (b) has, at least ostensibly, been cooperative. Paul Manafort is not Osama bin Laden, so there’s no reason for Bob Mueller to make like the commander of Seal Team Six.

Why is this worth pointing out? Because someday, maybe, we’ll get around to asking: What would have happened if Hillary Clinton’s very real email scandal — with its mountainous evidence of felony mishandling of classified information and destruction of government records — had been investigated with the no-holds-barred vigor Mueller and his band of Hillary donors are applying to the surmise of Trump collusion in Russian espionage?

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior fellow at the National Review Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Trump Gets Blunt at the United Nations

September 21, 2017

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Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

I'm not sure President Trump’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly has been fairly judged or received. It was a strong speech—clear, emphatic, remarkably blunt. The great question is whether the bluntness will tend at this point in history to make things better or worse. We’ll find out soon enough.
Often Mr. Trump grows bored with prepared speeches and starts throwing in asides and improvising adjectives. But he was committed to this speech and focused: It looked like Trump believing what Trump was saying. Detractors say, “Oh, his speechwriters just put something in front of him,” but all presidents, from the most naturally eloquent to the verbally dullest, have speechwriters. The point is what a president decides he wants to say and how he agrees to say it. In the end he directs what goes in and what comes out.
Mr. Trump explained to the U.N. the assumptions he sees as driving his own foreign policy, which showed a proper respect for the opinion of mankind. He outlined the central problems facing the world as he sees them—a tradition in such speeches, and a good one, for it matters what an American president thinks.
Mr. Trump’s speech was rhetorically dense, in that a lot was in it and little time was wasted. There were moments of eloquence—the U.N. must not be complacent; we cannot become “bystanders to history.”
He began with the usual bragging: The U.S. economy is improving, and we are militarily strong and getting stronger—and fairly quickly kicked into hopefulness, and respect for the U.N.’s history.
On his administration’s driving foreign-policy attitudes: “We do not expect diverse countries to share the same cultures, traditions or even systems of government. But we do expect all nations to uphold these two core sovereign duties: to respect the interests of their own people and the rights of every sovereign nation.” Then: “In America, we do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to watch.”
He painted “America First” as benign, politically realistic. “Our government’s first duty is to its people, to our citizens—to serve their needs, to ensure their safety, to preserve their rights, and to defend their values. As president of the United States, I will always put America first, just like you, as the leaders of your countries, will always and should always put your countries first.” Still, the nations of the world must “work together in close harmony and unity to create a more safe and peaceful future for all people.”
The U.S. has always been “a great friend to the world” and will continue to be. “Our citizens have paid the ultimate price to defend our freedom and the freedom of many nations represented in this great hall,” he said. “We want harmony and friendship, not conflict and strife. We are guided by outcomes, not ideology. We have a policy of principled realism, rooted in shared goals, interests and values.”
All this is the opposite of democracy promotion and nation building and dreams of eradicating evil. The president has spoken like this before. This section was less statement than restatement for an international audience.
But there was an interesting question of emphasis. Throughout the speech Mr. Trump stressed the importance of national sovereignty, of countries protecting their own ways and needs.
Sovereignty, of course, is crucial. But as he spoke, my mind went back to 1914 and all the fiercely sovereign nations that decided to go to war with each other, putting an end to a unique and rising European civilization. In 1945, after World War II, they put greater emphasis on a more corporate approach, on cooperation and transnational institutions. That path can be abused too, and has been. But it hasn’t been all bad.
It has been charged that Mr. Trump virtually ignored Russia, mentioning it only once, in thanks for supporting sanctions against North Korea. But he also said: “We must reject threats to sovereignty, from the Ukraine to the South China Sea.” That is not ignoring Russia. “We must uphold respect for law, respect for borders, and respect for culture,” he said. “We must work together and confront together those who threaten us with chaos, turmoil, and terror.”
The most publicized section of the speech was on North Korea. He characterized its regime as “depraved,” “twisted,” a “band of criminals.” True enough. North Korea’s “reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles” cannot be allowed to continue. In the speech’s most famous flourish: “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.” The U.S. “has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.”
Is this too hot, or helpful, or both? During the Cold War colorful candor produced a great deal. When Ronald Reagan was drop-dead blunt about the nature of the Soviet Union, foreign affairs was a high-stakes chess game between two superpowers. The context now is a less clearly demarcated world in which anyone with a weapon of mass destruction is, for the moment, a “superpower.” It’s hard to know if blunt talk will excite nuts into greater activity, or if bracing clarity about the risks they’re taking will slow them down, make them question their ambitions and intentions.
But the U.N. needed to hear clearly and unequivocally the gravity with which the American president views North Korea. Ultimately, as Mr. Trump noted, confronting this question is “what the United Nations is for.”
A great line—because it spoke a great truth—was this: “The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented.” Mr. Trump then paused and looked at the audience. It struck some as a “please clap” moment. It struck me as a stare-down: I’m saying something a lot of you need to hear. You’re not going to like it, and I’m going to watch you not like it.
Two final points: One is that Mr. Trump is on a roll, a sustained one the past few weeks, and this is new. All levels of government performed well in the hurricanes. Mr. Trump showed competence, focus and warmth. His bipartisan outreach, however it ends, went over well with core supporters and others. He had a strong speech at the U.N., in fact a successful U.N. week, beginning to end. His poll numbers are inching toward 40%.
Which gets us to point two: This is a very important moment for him. History suggests he will ruin it any minute with intemperate statements, wiggy decisions or crazy tweets.
He does this because he’s somewhat compulsive and has trouble governing himself. He also does it because he thinks his supporters like it. Some do, but most don’t. He thinks they all do because he misunderstands his base.
Mr. Trump’s supporters should push back when he starts to go slightly mad. They should tweet at him: “Stop, Donald! Be U.N. Donald, not Twitter Donald.”
They should tweet this to him by the millions. Because he does feel some loyalty to them, and it’s possible he might try to listen.

Saquon Barkley wows nation en route to Penn State record 358 all-purpose yards

By John McGonical
September 24, 2017

Image result for saquon barkley september 23 2017

Penn State running back Saquon Barkley runs during the third quarter at Kinnick Stadium on Sept. 23, 2017. Joe Hermitt |

Saquon Barkley didn’t score the game-ending touchdown, the one that kept Penn State’s undefeated season alive. But, boy oh boy, he did nearly everything else.
Barkley has wowed before. He’s boggled the mind, left jaws on the floor and dropped defenders to their knees. Literally. That’s not new.
But Barkley has never put together a performance quite like Saturday night. In Penn State’s tight 21-19 win against Iowa at Kinnick Stadium, Barkley broke down the Hawkeyes with 358 all-purpose yards — a new single-game program record.
In a showcase that only furthers his Heisman Trophy campaign, Barkley racked up 211 rushing yards on 28 carries (7.54 yards per carry), 94 receiving yards on 12 catches and 53 kickoff return yards. The total broke Curt Warner’s record of 341 yards, which has stood on the books for 36 years.
"Saquon’s a dog. That’s simply what it is,” Penn State safety Marcus Allen said, nodding his head. “Saquon’s a dog, and dogs do dog things.”
“I can’t take credit for the performance I had today. It’s an 11-man sport,” Barkley said, when asked where this showing ranked for him personally. “You can’t do it by yourself.”
But humility aside, Barkley put the offense on his back.
The elusive back had 10 offensive plays of 10 yards or more (six rushing, four receiving). He scored Penn State’s first touchdown of the night, an eight-yard run in which he dove and reached the ball out over the pylon, putting Penn State up 15-7 late in the third quarter. Barkley accounted for 12 of Penn State’s first downs, including a critical one in the game’s final drive.
And, of course, the dizzying junior dazzled with yet another highlight reel moment: a 44-yard run that stupefied one of the best defensive players in college football. Before he punched in that eight-yard score, Barkley jump-started Penn State’s first touchdown drive by looping around the Iowa defense for an 11-yard gain. Then he stopped along the Penn State sideline still in-bounds and allowed Iowa linebacker Josey Jewell to dive right past him. From there, he put the key in the ignition and raced for 33 more yards deep into Hawkeye territory.
“I’m going to have to watch that 17 more times to know what he did to get out of it,” Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley said of the 44-yard gain, in which Barkley was pinned by four Iowa defenders, including Jewell, on the sideline. “But he somehow got out of it. During that play, I was like, ‘Oh my God.’”
When asked about Barkley’s performance as a whole, McSorley said it was just “unreal.”
“I don’t know what his numbers were,” the quarterback added.

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